Wouldn't you know that my first Tossing Out Post of 2013 would be about insecurity! Will thirteen be an unlucky year? It's not something I'm counting on so let's hope not. But since it's first Wednesday of the month, insecurity is the topic du jour.
Me--the Different Drummer Marcher
A somewhat tepid response to my recent review of Veronika Carnaby's Bohemia was still another reminder that my tastes in literature are a bit out of the mainstream. My stats for that post indicate that several hundred hits were recorded, but less than twenty visitors took the time to comment and the response from over half of those who commented was something to the effect of "this is not a genre that interests me".
The scary part of this is that not only Carnaby's book is in a genre that I prefer to read, but this genre is closer to what I tend to write. Perhaps her style is not necessarily the style I write, but the tenor of my style is similar. This is probably why I feel such an affinity for Carnaby's book.
Likewise for Flannery O'Connor--I sometimes tend to approach what she tried to do, not by imitating her style, but taking a similar thematic bent. Who else is reading O'Connor just for personal entertainment or whatever you might call it? When I mention Flannery O'Connor most people haven't even heard of her let alone read her work. She's mostly for the scrutiny of college literature classes.
Don't Get Me Wrong
I don't want anyone to come to the conclusion that I'm trying to rank myself with the likes of O'Connor. And I'm expressing my admiration for Carnaby's new novel, not saying I want to write something like it. I want to tell my stories in my own voice. If I publish something that I like because of what I'm saying in the story and the way that I'm saying it, will I find the readers?
Insecurity, yes, the demon of self-doubt is apparently diverting my attention. I've got all of these projects started in one way or another, but I keep finding excuses not to finish any of them. Is it due to my genre of choice? If I am trying to write with more of a literary leaning, but not adept enough to pull it off, will I have lost audiences on all sides?
"Just do it already", some of you are saying. I know, I know. Perhaps I need to reassess my genre interest. But no, I'm not sure that's a good idea. I know what I like, what I want to read, what I want to write. I just don't want to waste my time.
Perhaps I should go with the philosophy that anything finished with an honest effort and a belief in what one has done is never a waste of time.
Yeah, I like that. But it still doesn't totally eliminate my insecurity.
In my next post I'll be talking about reading outside of ones genre or comfort zone. Then on the post after that I'm going to examine the concept of taste or why we like what we like. In this post I'll also be giving my thoughts on the 2012 film Marvel's The Avengers (yes, I finally saw it on DVD).
Do you write in a genre that you feel is not overly popular? Would you compromise your personal preferences to write in a style or with a theme that would be more popular to more people? When you've written something that you've felt was exceptional but was met with a lackluster response what have you done about it?
First Wednesday of the month means another edition of Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group. You can discover more participants here.